Update 5

Posted on: Wed Jan 8 by Tom Barlow

January is named after the Roman god of doors, Janus, because this month is the door to the year. Janus represents all beginnings and possesses the ability to see all things past and future.   Dear Guardians

Firstly congratulations to you on surviving yet another festive season, and overcoming the excesses of food, family, and friendship that’s packed into these heady days!

As this January opens the door on a new decade, and with the B word hopefully now behind us, its time to concentrate once again on some campaign issues, if we are to save our precious green spaces.

Blackpool Park Golf Club,
It took the intervention of John Barnett, (former High Sheriff of Lancashire) well known local business man, and resident to secure a meeting with Blackpool Council, HIP and the Club. This after several requests to the Council and HIP for a meeting from the club were ignored!
So with Johns influence and help a meeting took place at Bickerstaff House, on the 16th of December 2019, with Alan Cavill from the Council, Colin Jenkin and Michael Simmonds from HIP, with John accompanied by members of the committee from the golf club.
The outcome for the club was quite disappointing as HIP were forthright in their belief that they will be taking control of the course in March/April 2020, as they had come to Blackpool that day to discuss the Heads of Terms with the Council.
Heads of Terms form the basis around which any contract or lease will be signed.
HIP intend to run the course for 12months as an 18 hole facility, then in 2021 regardless of the planning situation will commence the conversion of the west side of the course into nine holes.
Asked, what they will do if they do not get planning for the Leisure Factory, and Holiday Lodges, they say they will apply for alternative leisure use, but the land to the East of East Park Drive will be developed, that is their determination, and presumed intended outcome, although they have no planning application in place as yet to deliver this objective.
Green Spaces
Disappointing as this meeting was for the golf club it is equally disappointing for the campaign, as it means that once a lease is signed HIP will have control/ownership of allthe land, and the council will abdicate their responsibility, there will be no democratic accountability!
So our campaign now needs to focus on stopping the signing of any HOT’s or Lease. Our priority has to be to delay, suspend or simply stop this process from happening.

Open Meeting 30th of January 2020
The agenda for the open meeting will concentrate on those actions which we can take to try and derail this process.
Andrew Wright on behalf of the working group has been investigating the background of the directors of HIP.

James Dominic Holmes – Managing Director 
Michael Simmonds Chief – Executive Officer
and their sub-contracted Golf Consultant – Colin Jenkin

The outcome of the investigations does not make for pleasant reading.
At the meeting we will unveil their backgrounds both individually and collectively, you will be surprised and mystified as to how Blackpool Council could ever possibly contemplate doing business with these men and this company.

Blackpool Council as part of the Tender Process are required to undertake due diligence in relation to this company?

Due Diligence
The Preferred Tenderer will be subject to financial checks which may involve (but not limited to): financial viability/risk checks (Dun & Bradstreet), a site visit, checking references, checking capability and track record and, where appropriate, speaking to organisations who will be involved in supporting the Contractor e.g. sub-contractors, regulatory agencies, etc. 

In only a few short weeks if we have managed to find out some very worrying aspects to this company and these individuals, so why are Blackpool Council still having discussions with them, how did they get through the procurement process as a preferred bidder?

Once we have shared our findings with you the Guardians at the meeting, we will be circulating them to all the Councillor’s and the senior officers within the council so they will not be able to claim that they are unaware of the background to this company and its directors and sub-contractors?

MP’s
Both the local MP’s are now supporting the campaign and are meeting on Friday 17th Jan with our Steering Group to discuss the campaign and advise on alternative approaches that could bare fruit.  Also to see what influence they may be able assert on Blackpool Council.

www.blackpoolgreenspaces.co.uk
The website currently has over 200 subscribers, and this is great, but we need to get these numbers into the thousands rather than the hundreds, this will be crucially important should Blackpool go into any consultation process!

So please spread the word, email your friends, family, work colleagues and post it on your social media, lets make some noise!

Fund Raising
So far Blackpool Park Golf Club has contributed over £3,000 pounds from its members funds, a local building company anonymously paid out over £2,000 pounds to develop the website, with other individuals mainly golf club members donating collectively in excess of £550 pounds.

You will be aware that the website has a donation page, and we need to encourage all our guardian’s and their friends to sign up and donate.

Although we are also considering crowd funding as an option.

Asking for money is always difficult, for any campaign, so we want to make it clear why we need to raise funding.

Legal and Professional Fees and Charges
It is anticipated that at some stage we may need to engage legal and professional services, in particular in relation to challenging the Council on its lack of democracy and any future Planning Applications by HIP.
We have already been engaged in discussions with a Planning Consultant, but of course until the plans for the land are released their is nothing to challenge.  As you are probably aware these cost can get into the tens of thousands!

Advertising and Marketing
We now have a large banner, and two pop up banners one of which is on display in the Golf Club House, we have over 5,000 leaflets ready to distribute and anticipate that we will need to replenish these as the campaign progresses.
Fun Fund Raising
At the meeting we will also be launching our 200 hundred club, and asking folk to sign up?
This is a fun way donate, and if your lucky to perhaps be a winner!
It works like this: –
200 people donate £10 per month, £ 2,000 pounds, then a monthly draw is held with five winners sharing £1,000 with the balance going into the campaign funds.
To enter you need to be either signed up on the website, or be a member of the golf club.
What will happen to any leftover funds if once the campaign is over?
You the Guardians will decide how such funds should be distributed.
They could be donated to the Friends of Stanley Park, or other local charities?

All the work being undertaken by the Steering Group and the Working Groups is done on a voluntary basis no funds will be paid to individuals.

Local List – Door Drop Mailings
Some of you may of seen our insertion in the Blackpool Local List, which is sent to every household in Blackpool.
Many thanks to Adrian Rodberd for organising this with David the editor, who Adrian tells me is keen to support our campaign, so watch out for future editions.

Spreading the Word

Leaflet Distribution – Supermarkets
If you would like to leaflet your street, we have a number of leaflets available, these can be collected from the Golf Club, or we will drop some off if you make a request by email and let us have the address where you would like them delivered?

We are still not having much success with the Supermarkets, although Asda are looking to give us a date in around three months time, we’ll keep you informed anyway.

Focus Groups
If you a member of a focus group, WI, Probus or other group and could share our campaign with them that would be great, if they would like a presentation then once again just send the details through by email.

Summary
The fight to save the land is far from over, in fact we are just getting going, and our thanks go out to all of you for supporting the fight, we hope to see you at the next meeting on the 30th January 2020, Blackpool Park Golf Club 7:30 start.

Cheers
TomB